About UsWhat We Do
Hope Now is the vision of Mission Centers of Houston. We seek to offer programs, opportunities, relationships and educational experiences that increase our community’s ability to experience Hope Now in a way that propels them to a greater life of empowerment, sustainability and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Mission Centers of Houston has 3 locations.
Mission Centers of Houston serve impoverished communities in the inner city of Houston, TX by providing for the physical and spiritual needs of people. Ministries include: Food and Clothing Distribution, Kids’ Clubs, Preteen & Teen Clubs, Senior Adult Ministry, E.S.L. Classes and more!
MCH also serves as a missions connection for churches, organizations and individuals seeking mission opportunities in Houston. This happens in several ways: (1) Through volunteer opportunities for groups and individuals at our existing mission centers, (2) Through our Global Footprint program that provides semester and summer internships, and (3) Providing the connection, assistance and training (if needed) between churches and organizations seeking to invest in Houston missions and the mission opportunities that have been identified through our network.
Mission Centers of Houston is a subsidiary corporation of Union Baptist Association (www.ubahouston.org).
MCH is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization supported by individuals, churches and grants. All gifts to MCH are tax-deductible according to I.R.S. guidelines.
Board of Directors
- Marc Schwartz, Chairman
- Andy Armstrong
- Royce Measures
- Bob Stroupe
- Pat Pollan
- Chris Smith
History & Future Plans
For over 55 years, the Mission Centers of Houston has worked to transform the lives of people living in Houston’s inner city and the people who come here to serve them.
In the early 1940’s, an existing ministry to children and families was moved from the Primera Iglesia Bautista Houston to the Mexican Goodwill Center. This center operated primarily as a ministry to impoverished Latinos in Houston’s Near Northside. In 1960, the center became the property of the Union Baptist Association. Miss Mary Terry served as a mission worker at this center until 1963, when the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention joined the UBA in supporting this work. At that time, the center was renamed the Fletcher Mission Center, and Miss Mildred McWhorter was appointed Director of the center. For the next 30 years, “Miss Mac’s” name would be synonymous with inner city Baptist mission work in Houston.
In 1965, another center was opened on Avenue F in Magnolia Park neighborhood near the Houston Ship Channel. Seeing the expressions of joy on the faces of neighborhood children whenever they arrived, “Miss Mac” named it the Joy Fellowship Center. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, Miss McWhorter and other volunteers visited the two neighborhoods, learning the needs of the residents and developing a variety of programs to address those needs, including after-school ministries for children and teenagers, food and clothing distribution, ESL and GED classes, job placement, and of course, Bible study and worship. Success was not immediate. It took time to gain the trust of the communities, but the Lord eventually rewarded prayers and hard work with very fruitful ministries.
In 1980, the Gano Mission Center, located a few blocks from the Fletcher Center, became part of the Baptist Mission Centers. This sizable property included the historic “Industrial Home,” a three-story building that provided housing for visiting missionaries. This building was demolished in 1999 to make room for a new building that would provide improved facilities for missionary housing and ministry programs.
During the last quarter of the twentieth century, “Miss Mac” became a well-known missionary speaker and promoter of home missions. Miss McWhorter retired as Director of the Baptist Mission Centers in December of 1992. In 1993, Miss Myrtle Tolley was appointed as Interim Director while a search was conducted for new leadership of the BMC.
In April of 1994, the Baptist Mission Centers’ Executive Board selected Miss Dorcas Camacho as Administrator of the BMC. Miss Camacho was married shortly afterward. In 1997, she and her husband, Emerson Byrd, were appointed as Co-Administrators of the Baptist Mission Centers. The Byrds faithfully served the inner city communities of Near Northside and Magnolia Park until the summer of 2002, when Emerson joined the United States Army as a Chaplain.
In October of 2002, Miss Ginger Smith was appointed as Executive Director of Baptist Mission Centers. Ginger was responsible for designing and raising funds for the Mildred McWhorter Missionary Building, which opened in May 2007. The MMMB is the home for MCH’s administrative offices and houses our summer Global Footprint missionary interns. This building totally changed how ministry was/is done at Mission Centers. Ginger developed hosting summer missionaries into a true missionary internship program. The development of ministerial students through our summer program has become a hallmark of MCH’s ministry. Ginger was also instrumental in leading MCH to adopt a development model of ministry, seeking to bring lasting change and true transformation to individuals, families, and the communities we serve. During her service at MCH the BMC Board of Directors voted to change the name to “Mission Centers of Houston” in 2008. This opened the door for other denominations and organizations to join us in our mission work. Shortly after her leaving Mission Centers in the spring of 2015, the Fletcher and Gano Centers consolidated and now all ministries to Houston’s Near Northside are housed at the Gano Center.
In April of 2016, Rev. Jeff Chadwick was appointed as MCH’s new Executive Director. He is responsible for providing the overall leadership, guidance and vision for the organization and is the main point of contact and liaison between MCH and various ministry and business partners. Prior to Jeff entering full time ministry in 2003 he worked for over 20 years as a petroleum engineer in various staff, management and executive leadership positions. Since then he has served in various pastoral positions relating to missions and outreach, and most recently church planting with his wife Cheryl in an urban context. He has an M.S. degree in Petroleum Engineering from West Virginia University and a M.A. in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Cheryl is now serving with Jeff at MCH.
Going into the future we see the landscape in the Near Northside of Houston near the Gano Mission Center changing as old homes are being torn down and replaced with modern townhouses and condos. This is forcing the under-resourced residents in the area to move out as property taxes and rent skyrocket with increasing property values. MCH has begun working with church plants and networks in the area as partners in ministry to continue reaching people for Christ as the ministry model in the area changes over the next 5 to 10 years. While this happens we will continue to provide our traditional ministries and services to help those who have come to rely on us and who need it most.
The picture is quite different in the Magnolia Park Area of Houston’s Greater East End where our Joy Mission Center is located. The area is very stable in terms of unchanging demographics but the physical and spiritual needs continue to escalate. That’s why MCH will be focusing a great deal of our effort in this area going forward. Beginning in June of 2017 MCH is adding an area missionary to our staff whose primary focus will be reaching out from the Joy Center to the many neighborhoods in the area. We will be seeking to ‘take the center to the people’ through identifying and raising up lay leaders who will form and lead neighborhood ‘Impact Groups’. These leaders will identify those who need help and spiritual guidance which will in turn allow us to work with our mission partners to provide what is needed. The Joy Mission Center will serve as a hub for gathering the impact groups together, training and encouraging leaders, providing educational and Biblical training, and coordinating mission work in the area. The facilities will be utilized to provide a centralized location from which these ministries will occur.
As Mission Centers of Houston continues to change to meet the changing needs of the inner city in the areas we have traditionally served we will be well positioned to expand our mission work into new areas of the city where the Lord leads us. We believe the model of ministry we will be doing through the Joy Center will be the model the Lord will allow us to take to new areas of Houston in the future.